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Hill Billy Brand

Hill Billy BrandIn episode 204, Mike Abbaticchio and Shon Lees bring their Hill Billy Brand business before the Sharks. The pair created the brand to provide outdoorsy men and women, and those who consider themselves redneck-cool, to express their love of all things country.

The idea came to Abbaticchio one sleepless night, but it took a year for him to join with Lees and begin selling tee shirts out of the back of a truck at rodeos, fairs, concerts, and other outdoor events. When they sold out within 4 hours of their first event, the pair realized they were on to something. With their product line expanding and demand growing, they decided it was time to take their Hill Billy Brand to the next level. It was time to approach the Sharks, in hopes of landing a deal that could make them the next Beverly Hill Billies.

Hill Billy Brand Shark Tank Recap

The Hill Billy Brand boys make quite an entrance to the Shark Tank, where they’re seeking $50,000, in return for a 25% stake in the company. The pair are preceded by models riding an ATV, who hand out hats bearing the Hill Billy Brand to the Sharks. Jeff Foxworthy selects a camo ball cap, while Barbara Corcoran accepts a leather cowboy hat, wearing it like a true country queen.

The men make a concise pitch, presenting their brand, what it represents, and their market. The appeal of the brand for country music fans, outdoor recreation lovers, and NASCAR fans is clear. Robert Herjavec wants to know about sales. Abbaticchio and Lees respond that, by selling through events alone, they’ve sold $50,000 in the last 12 months, and are on track to sell $60,000 before the end of the year. They recently signed a distribution agreement with Sports Authority and are pursuing further deals.

The Sharks nudge hard on valuation, but the men explain the reasoning behind the $200,000 value they’ve put on the business, citing the sales, and the value of their trademarks. Kevin O’Leary remains unimpressed. He says retail is too brutal a business. He’s out. Four Sharks remain. Barbara Corcoran doesn’t feel she has the licensing contacts to help the men sell their brand. She’s out.

Robert Herjavec wants to know if Jeff Foxworthy would come in on the deal, buy the brand outright, and license it. Foxworthy agrees, and invites Daymond John, the clothing king, into the deal. Herjavec reiterates the offer: $50,000 for the brand, and the trio will pay the men a royalty of 7% on the licensed sales.

Abbaticchio and Lees counter-offer. They’d like $100,000, 10%, and a guarantee that they have the right to buy the brand back if it doesn’t sell. The Sharks counter with $75,000 and 7%. The men agree. A Shark deal has been made.

Hill Billy Brand Shark Tank Update

Abbaticchio and Lees were elated, after the show, to have struck a deal with not one, but three Sharks. As sometimes happens with Shark deals, however, the negotiations after the episode aired didn’t go as planned. The partners weren’t able to reach a finalized agreement with the three Sharks, and eventually rejected the deal. There were no sour grapes for the hillbillies, however. Of working with the Sharks, the men had this to say:

“Everyone on the show was great, but we really communicated with Daymond the most after the show. Daymond was awesome to work with and taught us a lot.”

Even without a final Shark deal, the brand has taken off and entered the global market. They expanded their line to women’s wear and they even have their own brand of iced tea. As of July, 2023, the company is earning $1 million in annual revenue.

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